What is stress?
Stress is what you feel when pressures are put on you. These pressures or demands may come in the form of maintaining friendships, fulfilling family expectations and meeting academic targets and physical illness.
Why do I feel stressed?
You feel stressed when you feel as though you do not have much control over meeting the demands put onto you. How stressful you are and how you function under that stress depend on your ability to manage the pressure.
Is stress bad?
Stress can be good or bad. We need stress to survive. Stress, if adapted can motivate us every day in our daily life. Through stressful situations, we develop abilities to adapt, cope and respond to life’s demands. On the other hand, stress is bad when we are not able to manage it properly or when we view it negatively. Poor stress management leads to feeling out of control which in turn will lead to other unhealthy coping strategies.
What are the main causes of stress?
- Your body functioning, when not well, leads to stress
- o E.g. pain, discomfort, disabling of your senses (vision, hearing, etc
- Negative thoughts
- Fears and worries, negative memories, irrational thoughts automatically creates stressful emotions
- Your own behavior such as walking fast, talking loud and tensing up can lead to stress
- Social environment
- People around you can cause stress
- E.g. conflict at school or home
- Physical environment
- Uncomfortable changes in your environment
- E.g. Extreme temperatures, noise, color, brightness, smell, taste, pain
How do I know that I am stressed?
- Heart rate increases
- Muscles tense to prepare for action
- Breathing becomes quicker, to take up more oxygen to fuel the muscles for action
- Digestive processes slow down and more acid is produced in the stomach, leading to physical discomfort or pain
- Negative feelings of anxiety, worry, fear or anger
- Having sleep problems (problem getting and staying asleep, or sleeping too much)
- Having appetite problems (not feeling hungry at meal times, or feeling hungry for most times)
What can happen to me when I am stressed for a long time?
- Lowered immune system – can easily get sick
- Worsens illness when already sick
- Health problems later on in life. e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke
- Psychological problems e.g. anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleep problems
- Poor coping skills leading to unhealthy lifestyle e.g. smoking, alcoholism, drug-taking, fighting
What can I do about my stress?
- Understand the causes of stress in you
- Learn how to cope
- Seek help
How do I cope with stress?
- Take deep breaths and slow down your breathing
- Slow down your movements or keep still to lower your heart rate
- Relax your muscles
- Look for negative and irrational thoughts and change them to more positive and constructive thoughts
- Look for positive thoughts and focus on them
- Use humor to modify stressful thoughts
- Change your environment
- Remove yourself from the stressful situation
- Distract yourself with pleasurable activities
- Identify the problem and look for a solution
How do I prevent stress in me?
- Get to know yourself better. You can keep a diary to keep track of situations, behavior and thoughts that lead to stress and how you managed that stress. Once you know more about yourself, you can do things that manage your stress better
- From your diary you can find out:
- The most effective problem solving and stress management methods that work for you
- The situations when you are most likely to feel stressed
- The people with whom you are most likely to feel stressed
- Regular exercise helps:
- Allowing you to regularly release tension
- Improving your stamina which helps you to be more resistant to stress
- Regular relaxation exercises
- Having a balanced diet and nutrition
- Regular sleeping habit helps you to feel rested and less susceptible to stress
- Have a good circle of friends whom you can depend on for support
- Have a good spiritual life
Can I prepare for stress?
Yes, you may also practice planning how to handle potential stressful situations with a friend or family member so that you may be more automatic at handling or preventing probable stress. Alternatively, stress management professionals such as counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists can help out as well.
Do I need medication for stress?
If you feel that your stress is getting out of hand. You may need some medication that will help to calm you down and help you to sleep at night. Please consult your doctor about this.
Who can I go to for help?
- Spiritual teachers
- Anger management
- Communication skills
- Decision making
- Understanding personality
- Negotiating skills
- Positive thinking
- Problem solving skills
|Last Reviewed||:||20 April 2012|
|Writer||:||Prof. Madya Dr. Alvin Ng Lai Oon|
|Reviewer||:||Pn. Shahidah Bt. Mohamed Makki|